|Graf Zeppelin was a German aircraft carrier of the Kriegsmarine, named like the famous airship in honour of Graf (Count) Ferdinand von Zeppelin. It was Germany's only aircraft carrier during World War II. Its construction was ordered on November 16, 1935, and its keel was laid down December 28, 1936 by Deutsche Werke of Kiel. It was launched on December 8, 1938, but was never completed. |
By 1943, Hitler had become disenchanted with his Navy. Raeder was relieved at his own request and Dönitz, the submarine admiral, took the top naval post. Work on the 95% complete carrier stopped; all armaments were removed and transferred to coastal batteries in Norway. The hull itself was used to store hardwood for the Kriegsmarine. The carrier was scuttled in shallow water at Stettin (now Szczecin) on 25 April 1945, just before the Red Army captured the city.